Zero-knowledge proofs took a step forward Thursday with a $92 million token sale to accelerate adoption for the Mina protocol.
The round was led by FTX Ventures and Three Arrows Capital, with the raise representing FTX Venture’s first investment in a zero-knowledge project. Other participants include Alan Howard, Amber Group, Blockchain.com, Brevan Howard, Circle Ventures, Finality Capital Partners and Pantera.
“The main opportunity here is to be able to program with zero knowledge for regular developers,” Mina Foundation CEO Evan Shapiro said in an interview with CoinDesk.
Shapiro declined to share the price at which the tokens were sold or the percentage of the Mina Foundation treasury the round represents.
According to Shapiro, the network soft-launched in December 2021, and the team has been slowly raising production ever since.
“The main function of the raise is to increase our capacity to give out grants to proposals that can help support the protocol,” he said.
So far, “1,100 or so” grantees have received funds, and the team saw over 100 applications for its “ZK Bootcamp” application development program, of which the foundation selected a dozen to nurture.
An identity solution, multiple games and a “highly scalable layer 2” system count among the first cohort, and Shapiro said he expects to see many of them reach production within the next six months.
Other promising zero-knowledge applications include “a [decentralized finance] app that has a form of identity of private [know your customer],” private decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) transactions and memberships, and private non-fungible token (NFT) ownership – all of which are frequently requested features among users and developers.
“This is a special moment where zero-knowledge proofs are becoming something that people can generally use, and not just select developers. That’s an exciting thing for Mina and for the space,” Shapiro said.
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